Alberta's new left-wing premier sworn in, unveils Cabinet

Sun May 24, 2015 6:21pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, whose left-wing New Democratic Party ended 44-years of Progressive Conservative Party rule in the Canadian province this month, was sworn in on Sunday and unveiled her Cabinet, with three of the top posts going to rookie legislators.

The leader tapped former Calgary city councillor Joe Ceci to be finance minister and Marg McCuaig-Boyd, a former teacher and educational administrator, to handle the energy portfolio. The energy minister is one of the most high profile roles in a province that is the largest source of U.S. oil imports.

Shannon Phillips, a former journalist and policy analyst with a labor organization, will oversee the environment portfolio.

The new government must deal with a host of pressing issues, especially the drop in oil prices that has devastated Alberta's finances. Revenue from the province's energy industry is expected to fall to C$2.9 billion ($2.36 billion) this year from C$9.2 billion a year ago. Notley does not plan to introduce her first budget until the fall.

They must also deal with plans to hold a controversial review of royalty rates paid by the oil and gas producers; come up with a new scheme to deal with carbon emissions from the province's massive oil sands and coal-fired power plants; and mend fences with an energy industry that has traditionally thrown its support to the conservatives.

The new premier and her 11 Cabinet members were sworn in on the grounds of the provincial legislature in Edmonton, with the remaining NDP members slated to take their oaths on June 1.

The Cabinet is the province's smallest in recent memory, down from the 20-member council of Jim Prentice, her Progressive Conservative predecessor, and comes with little political experience. Only four of the 54 NDP members elected had previous experience in the legislature.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson in Toronto and Scott Haggett in Calgary; Editing by Sandra Maler)

 
Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Rachel Notley wipes a tear from her eye after being sworn in as Alberta's 17th premier at her official swearing-in ceremony in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada May 24, 2015. REUTERS/Topher Seguin